Andrew Fisher, Tilhill Forestry

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“Membership of the Institute of Chartered Foresters has helped me make invaluable contacts in the forestry industry, giving brilliant advice and hands-on experience.”

I graduated from Harper Adams University in summer 2013 with a first class BSc (Hons) degree in Countryside and Environmental Management and started with Tilhill Forestry on their graduate programme as an Assistant Forest Manager in July 2013. During this period I have held both Student and Associate membership of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, thanks to which I have made invaluable contacts in the forestry industry, giving brilliant advice and hands-on experience.

My course at Harper Adams was quite broad and took in a lot, however I quickly found that I enjoyed forestry and tailored the course to fit, taking as many forestry modules as possible. During my time there I held Student membership of ICF and this really helped me through my studies. For instance, the quarterly magazine helped keep me up to date with what was new in the forestry industry. I used the literature to help find new and interesting topics and help further my wider reading to better understand the field, building my knowledge and experience base.

I am now based in Tilhill’s Jedburgh office in the Scottish Borders. My role with Tilhill Forestry is to assist the forest managers with their daily work, managing a wide variety of forests and woodlands for a wide variety of clients. I am gradually learning the role and what’s required of a forest manager within a commercial organisation. The work varies day to day, and involves a broad range of responsibilities within the all-encompassing umbrella of forest management. Mapping, grant applications, supervising contractors and harvesting, crop assessments and organising establishment and maintenance operations, are all part of my role. There is a good mix of office work and being on site, and plenty of challenges every day, making the job very rewarding.

Once I joined Tilhill Forestry I went through the self-assessment process, to become an Associate member of the Institute, with a view of working towards full professional membership. ICF membership is strongly supported by Tilhill Forestry so it was an obvious career move. I am sure that Associate membership will continue to be invaluable to me, giving me support, contacts and advice on the current issues within the industry and into the future.

It is an exciting time to be starting a career within forestry and I aim to achieve professional membership in the future, as my career progresses.